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Woman who fended off attacker in Seattle park restroom fights back against political campaign

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The suspect, Gary Steiner, was being held in the King County Jail for investigation of assault and attempted rape charges. He is a registered sex offender in Clark County, and police aren’t sure when he showed up in the Seattle area.

SEATTLE — A woman who fought off an attacker inside a Seattle park restroom is now fighting back against a political campaign that used her story as part of a fundraising appeal.

Kelly Herron called on Just Want Privacy to stop using her image and story in its campaign to promote a Washington initiative that would restrict bathroom access for transgender people.

She said in a statement Tuesday that she refuses to allow anyone to use her and her “horrific sexual assault to cause harm and discrimination to others.”

Our news partner The Seattle Times reports the campaign on Tuesday issued a statement apologizing to Herron.

Prosecutors say Gary Steiner, a homeless sex offender, punched her in the face and tried to rape her on March 5. He has been charged with attempted second-degree rape and other charges.

The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify sexual assault victims but Herron issued a statement to media outlets Tuesday.